As I am almost done with the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge, I am beginning to plan my reading schedule for 2009. Since next year marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, I want to include him prominently in my plans.
For many years I have been in possession of the two volume 1559 Institutes of the Christian Religion. J. R. Harris has a fairly ambitious reading plan to cover all of this material in one year, but following this plan might prove a bit much and still allow me to pursue other devotional reading and devote myself properly to sermon/Bible study preparation.
I also have a copy of the hard cover 1536 Institutes of the Christian Religion on my bookshelf. This might be a bit easier to manage in one year, since it would require only one page per day, and I could supplement it with selections from the 1559 edition as needed.
Another reason not to tackle the 1559 version is due to my recent acquisition of two "Calvin 500" works that I would like to read next year. They are:
A Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes: Essays and Analysis, and
The Legacy of John Calvin: His Influence on the Modern World.
Additionally, I am in possession of Ford Lewis Battles' An Analysis of the Institutes of the Christian Religion of John Calvin.
I think that I could manage the 1536 Institutes, the two "Calvin 500" volumes, and Battles' Analysis, and that these would require only a small portion of my daily reading schedule. This would still allow me plenty of time for my other reading and study.
This plan is not set in stone, and I would entertain other suggestions.
UPDATE 12/30/2008: As I have considered several other Calvin reading plans that have been posted on the internet, and revisited my suggested plan shown above, I am more convinced than ever that my original plan is the one that will work for me.
As a result, in 2009 I will be reading:
1536 Institutes of the Christian Religion
A Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes: Essays and Analysis
The Legacy of John Calvin: His Influence on the Modern World (completed)
An Analysis of the Institutes of the Christian Religion of John Calvin
I will supplement, as needed to understand "An Analysis" and the other works, with selections from 1559 Institutes of the Christian Religion.
At the half-way point of the year I find that I am reading the 1536 Institutes slower than I anticipated, due to having to think hard on just about every page. I should be done before the end of the year. I am still planning to complete the other books listed, and have also already competed john Piper's John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God. I have also obtained two other volumes from the Calvin500 series:
The Piety of John Calvin: A Collection of His Spiritual Prose, Poems, and Hymns, translated and edited by Ford Lewis Battles
Calvin in the Public Square: Liberal Democracies, Rights, and Civil Liberties by David W. Hall